I was part of planning a burial some months ago and it was my first time. It was a mixture of feelings... mourning the loss of a loved one and at the same time experiencing so much love and joy from people who came to visit. Food has an important role during burials in Nigeria. Deciding how to handle all the guests and the rest of the family during a time like this requires patience, proper planning, many hands and finally, food. How much should you cook? How much is enough? How many people are you expecting? Why should you cook? When should you cook? What should you cook? Should you outsource catering? What food is required on the burial day and the days leading to it? Should you have a mourning house? Do you plan to feed people in the mourning house? Who will serve? What do the traditions permit etc... the list is very long.
For this burial like many others, most things were bought by us but some other items were gifts from diferent groups and individuals. They came in all forms and sizes, I wish these gatherings were for happier reasons and not a burial. The gifts we received included rice, yams, goats, cows, chicken, drinks and enough garden eggs with groudnut. Many people also gave their money,time and skills to make the event a success. In every meeting, food was important, For every visit, food was important. `It was beautiful to see how the villagers did their bit. They offered to cut the leaves, wash the cassava for fufu, pound yam, set up traditional canopies etc. It was a coulorful event. I couldn't believe the amount of food that was harvested from different farms in the village.
I believe each tribe has its own tradition but it very important to work with the family and the village for the burial to be successful. Another point is food distribution. No matter how much food is available, if the distribution is not managed properly a lot of food will be taken or wasted and some of your guests may leave hungry. So see to it that you to identify the VIPs you are expecting and confirm if it's better to pack their food in nice takeaway warmers with the drinks and souvenirs (if you are distributing any). Also note the people who came from very far places and do the same for them, it's easy to find the locals later.
Burials are very difficult times with so many things to decide and do with moments of emotional breakdown in between. Be sure you remember to delegate some tasks to the right people and give yourself time to recharge.